by Michelle Conder, author of The Most Expensive Lie of All
I love a second chance love story and also one where the underdog wins the day. In this novel I combine both.
At the start of the story the hero, Cruz Rodriguez, is a driven man with a fragmented family life. He is close to his brother, but unable to emotionally connect with the other members of his family. Being from a poor Mexican family his mother made a decision when he was young to send Cruz away with a wealthy American and it shaped him into the emotionally stunted man he is today.
The wealthy American was the heroine, Aspen Carmichael’s, grandfather. A man who was rigid in his beliefs and hard on those he cared about the most. When Aspen is young she loses her mother and is sent to live with her grandfather. There she develops a sense of hero worship for Cruz who was the star polo player of her grandfather’s elite team at the time.
Being older than Aspen, Cruz barely noticed her at first and when he does he has competition from a wealthy neighbour who will do anything to unseat him as the captain of the polo team. Unwittingly Aspen becomes a pawn in this man’s game of one upmanship and as a result Cruz is sent away from the stud farm he had grown to love.
Years pass and when The Farm is put up for sale Aspen decides that she will do just about anything to keep it. Cruz has decided he’ll do just about anything to buy it and raise it to the ground.
Of course this means coming into contact with the one woman he has never been able to forget and although he thinks he is strong enough to withstand her charms, he finds that he is wrong. Very wrong.
The research and the writing of this novel were great fun. We had just come out of summer in Australia and so the days were still long and hot and it was very easy to imagine a lush horse stud with the scent of summer and horses in the air. Best of all I was fortunate enough to visit a professional polo player and have a lesson! What fun that was and the couple who owned the farm were so generous with their stories about travelling the international polo circuit that the Rodriguez Polo Club in Mexico was born in my imagination and transferred to the page.
I love horses and have always dreamed of having a job working with them. In fact, one of the things I love most about reading and writing Presents are the exotic locations and wonderful careers held by the heroes and heroines. What are some of the things you love reading about Presents stories? I’d love to know.
Winning at all costs?
Shameless Cruz Rodriguez swapped the polo field for the boardroom eight years ago, where his killer instincts made him a phenomenally wealthy man. But there’s a hitch in his latest deal—in the sultry form of Aspen Carmichael….
Champion horse breeder Aspen has never forgotten Cruz—their searing encounter was the one pleasure in her increasingly desperate life. So when darkly handsome Cruz reappears with a multimillion-dollar investment offer, Aspen is torn. She may crave his touch, but beneath his glittering black eyes lies a deception that could prove more costly than ever before!